Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Silver Lining

I would think that death always brings grief to someone. At least I would hope it does. It's hard to imagine anyone dying and no one caring.

Grief in the case of an elderly person who has lived a long and full life is somehow eased with all those memories and the realization that it was their "time".

But death of a young person, especially a child, is a horrible experience for the surviving family and loved ones. I witness the initial shock of hearing the news that a child is dead often as a public safety chaplain.

And I see the worst - the cases when there is no "forewarning" like a known illness or risky surgery. There's no preparation. Most that I am involved with are sudden and totally unexpected. One minute the child is enjoying life as chldren do. The next they are lifeless.

Sunday I was involved with one of those heart-wrenching cases as a just-turned 13 year old girl suffered an apparent cardiac arrest while sleeping. While on vacation and away from home, friends, family, church.

I met with the parents at the emergency room to offer support and prayers. They actually quoted Romans 8:28 to me. This young girl has a vibrant relationship with Christ. Spiritually we're told that knowing there is eternal life ahead because of the work of Christ and our belief in Him takes the sting of death away. I saw that.

That trust in God's sovereignty doesn't, however, answer the inevitable "Why?" questions. Those may never be answered in part much less fully here.

As I do regularly in these situations, I asked the parents if they would consider organ donation. What parent considers this in advance and already has an answer ready? Precious few, I'm afraid. But without hesitation they looked at each other and said, "Yes. If her organs can allow another child to live, yes."

I informed the nurse and the papers were signed. And I hope that somewhere someones' sons or daughters are being given a chance at a longer life because of such an unselfish act.

It doesn't erase the pain, but it does help.

If you would like to know more about organ donation, please click the link to the right of this page.


Apple said...

You mentioned this at church on Sunday and my heart lurched when you said the words. Even reading it a second time, I have tears in my eyes for the sadness these parents are suffering and the joy that countless other parents are experiencing because of their selfless act.

God bless this family.

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

It is so awful when this happens; I have known of two young adults who died in their sleep, totally unexpectedly, having gone to bed perfectly fit and well.

I was just about to e-mail you or comment on your blog, as you may remember that awhile back you drew our attention to an e-petition here in the UK calling for education of young people in bone marrow/blood donation. I signed the petition, and have just been informed that the response is here.

Jeffrey and Allison Tomasek said...

When you get called for emergencies like this that hit people on vacation, do they seem to know you or of Nate/Trisha's story?

Do you explain how organ donation has touched your life when you talk to them?

Rick Lawrenson said...

@ Jeffrey and Allison -

I get called because I'm the chaplain for the Nags Head Fire Department. I haven't met anyone here on vacation who has a clue as to who I am! One of my duties as chaplain is to respond to crisis situations, which include deaths.

Yes, I tell them why organ donation is so important to me.

Still most decline unless they've already signed up. I don't push it, but make sure they know it's an option.

Terry Gray Sr. said...

Good for you Rick, I think you are offering a good option. My situation is a little different. My Grandmother is 104 years old...Probably the oldest person in Dare County. I visited with her the other day....she told me that she was not going to be here when I got back from my weekly stay at work in Hatteras. I knew what she was saying, because she has said it many times. But this time there was a twinkle in her eye that I haven't seen in a while. She told me that a man came to her in a dream, he told her it was almost time to go. She went into a state of joy that I could feel come over her, and it touched me. She stated that there were people that she had missed up there, (her finger pointing upwards), that were Happy. There was no age, no hurts, and everyone was enjoying themselves. She said she was going to be a "Pretty Angel" and that I better be good so I sould come see her after awile. How special is this?

I feel that it is probably her time, or at least that she feels it is, but her only concern is for me to live a life in Christ that will ensure I will join her one day.

I guess that I am writing all this to say that life is distrubing to lose whether old or young, the most important thing is that the person is right with the Lord. This post justs states that it is never too early to teach the word and the Love of Jesus Christ, Our savior.

Ann said...

My husband and I have had the talk and our answer is ready should we ever need it. Next step is to register. It is a talk we never would have had if not for Nathan and Tricia's story.

queenie said...

I was crying while reading this post. It's so sad how death can come.

Haven't given much thought about organ donation. I guess I'm just being conservative or plain selfish but I used to think that asking for organ donation from parents who has just lost their precious child is outright rude. This post has proven me wrong. It has changed my belief entirely. Its amazing how a child close to death can live longer and enjoy the joys of the world because someone somewhere has given him a chance. Its just a miracle from God.

My prayers for the family.